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DAW upgrade - Devil's Canyon?

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DAW upgrade - Devil's Canyon?

Postby Vyv » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:50 am

Hi everyone,

I periodically think about upgrading my ancient desktop PC hardware (ASUS P5QE / Intel Core Duo E8400, 8Gb RAM) as using multiple Vienna Instrument, Kontakt and Altiverb instances has the whole thing grinding to a halt. I'll increase RAM to at least 16Gb, and use the existing Be Quiet PSU, case and hard disks.

Is a £90 mobo like ASUS Z87-K going to produce a noticeable improvement? And is the i7 cpu worth the extra over an i5?

Then there's the new Intel 'Devils Canyon' cpus. Are these likely to be useful in music production or are we in pure gamer territory here?

Any thoughts welcome.
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Re: DAW upgrade - Devil's Canyon?

Postby TheBev » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:54 pm

Or... have you thought about putting a 50/60 quid quad core in their instead. I'm just saying this as it gave me a noticeable boost - I had an Asus P5QSE Plus with a Core 2 Duo E8600 processor, I replaced this with a Quad Core 9450 (iirc).

Just an idea.

&... you can get an idea of potential boosts from here , which I found out about on this thread which covers similar ground.


Hope that's helpful
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Re: DAW upgrade - Devil's Canyon?

Postby Vyv » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:08 pm

Always good to hear a cheap option ... Thanks TheBev, I will investigate.

I've also realised that replacing the mobo will entail replacing the soundcard as my Delta 1010 is really ancient PCI board, been looking forward to an Audient id22 but that's another story, and another 450 quid.
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Re: DAW upgrade - Devil's Canyon?

Postby Vyv » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:28 pm

... looks like the Core2 Quad 9650 might be best, but that's getting towards £120 on eBay, which is a bit high for a stop-gap solution
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Re: DAW upgrade - Devil's Canyon?

Postby OneWorld » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:28 pm

TheBev wrote:Or... have you thought about putting a 50/60 quid quad core in their instead. I'm just saying this as it gave me a noticeable boost - I had an Asus P5QSE Plus with a Core 2 Duo E8600 processor, I replaced this with a Quad Core 9450 (iirc).

I went from a C2D to a C2Q and it did make quite a difference. I found for example Native Instruments Studio Drummer would crank the CPU up to 50% add a few softsynths and it was ready to croak. The C2Q saw Studio Drummer trundle along at about 30% CPU.

However, more recent software is demanding more and I saw the day coming when 64bit is the norm, and got a good deal on an i7, so even though very pleased with the diffence the C2Q made, and it only cost me £30 off eBay. I used it for about a year but then went for the i7 and replaced win7/32 with win7/64

I did that to sort of force me to adapt to new ways of working, for example, although am joined at the hip with my Akai z8, the AK.SYS software won't run under 64bit, and feel I really ought to kiss the Z8 goodbye and get to know Kontakt better

So, instead of making 2 changes, which you'll inevitably do, why not go for the i7, a good whack of RAM and you're up to date. A good i7, rammed out to the max and possibly an SSD boot drive, and you've got something you'll get 5 years out of?
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Re: DAW upgrade - Devil's Canyon?

Postby TheBev » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:35 pm

I actually did the same kind of thing a few months after my first upgrade as I'm now using an i7 4770k. I'd managed to sell a few things so I thought it was a good time to go the 64bit OS & DAW route, as well as future proof-ish on the hardware side.

Also saved me going through the re-install nightmare twice I guess, but the whole shebang wasn't cheap. I was happy with the other mobo but I'm glad I've got my new one. & I'm hoping to get more than 5 years out of it, I think I got got 7 out of the last.
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Re: DAW upgrade - Devil's Canyon?

Postby Trevor Johnson » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:35 pm

multiple Vienna Instrument, Kontakt and Altiverb instances


You need at least 16Gb of RAM, but the P5QE uses DDR2 and has 4 slots, so sourcing RAM will be very difficult. Probably not worth it.

Devil's Canyon is good if you want to highly overclock, say to 4.8GHz. But you need to increase the vcore, have a large air cooler or go for liquid cooling and accept the extra heat, noise and power consumption.

Which direction you take depends on your budget.
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Re: DAW upgrade - Devil's Canyon?

Postby Vyv » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:37 pm

Perhaps I should point out I'm already 64-bit, that works fine with the existing setup.
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Re: DAW upgrade - Devil's Canyon?

Postby Vyv » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:42 pm

You need at least 16Gb of RAM, but the P5QE uses DDR2 and has 4 slots, so sourcing RAM will be very difficult. Probably not worth it.


Indeed, I went from 2 to 8 Gig and it was rather expensive. The upside is I can use this old hardware to beef up my better half's PC and then use Vienna Ensemble Pro to access it over the network. This already works really well with my Samsung Laptop moonlighting as an orchestral brass section!
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Re: DAW upgrade - Devil's Canyon?

Postby Vyv » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:47 pm

Devil's Canyon is good if you want to highly overclock, say to 4.8GHz. But you need to increase the vcore, have a large air cooler or go for liquid cooling and accept the extra heat, noise and power consumption.


Sounds like a regular i7 4790 might be better and cheaper when I go down this route.
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Re: DAW upgrade - Devil's Canyon?

Postby Pete Kaine » Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:11 pm

Vyv wrote:
I've also realised that replacing the mobo will entail replacing the soundcard as my Delta 1010 is really ancient PCI board,

Still the odd PCI slot on the current boards and "most" of the time they work fine with older PCI cards. I'll acknowledge however that with the many generations that the Delta series went through your milage may vary.

Trevor Johnson wrote:
Devil's Canyon is good if you want to highly overclock, say to 4.8GHz.

The goldern samples prior to launch leant on that rather heavily; real world however has proven rather different. After binning a few hundred of them we've restricted our over clocks to mostly around the 4.5 / 4.6 sort of region and I'm personally on air hesitent to take it over 4.4GHz.

Maybe 1 in 10 is currently hitting a stable 4.8GHz in long term stress testing, we really haven't been as impressed with the refresh as we hoped to be. If you get that odd golden unit, they are superb and I'm sure long term we'll see a better stepping release as the yields improve but I'd hold off for a few more batches through if you want to get a chip you can thrash.
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Re: DAW upgrade - Devil's Canyon?

Postby Vyv » Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:15 am

Hi again, many thanks for replies so far. It's amazing how you pick things up with a couple of day's Googling. I've now ordered an ASUS z97-A mobo, now I just need to sort memory and cpu.

I'm not going to overclock, but the i7 4790K has a base clock speed of 4GHz, against 3.6GHz for the ordinary i7 4790 - wonder if this is worth the extra £25?

As to RAM, I've used Corsair up to now, any opinions whether it's worth going for fancy versions (eg Dominator Platinum 1600 9-9-9-24 ) as against regular Vengeance 1600 10-10-10-27? I'll get 2x8Gb to leave room for doubling up later.

New word: Googleschmerz - sense of existential futility after spending whole day doing 'research'
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